Do You Need A Gun?

Do You Need A Gun?

Only you can answer the question if you need a gun and it’s not an easy question to answer. As women, this is a tough question for us to ask ourselves because it means facing our vulnerabilities. For our own peace of mind we tend to assure ourselves that; “people are good” or “my neighborhood is safe” or “I am always aware, I can prevent something from happening.” Of course we know that none of these things are completely true and it is just unrealistic to think that the men in our lives or law enforcement can protect us as we move through our lives. As women, today and throughout history, we have been the primary target of violent crime. We have a target on our backs that is subsantially larger than that of a man. If we are petite, are disabled in any way, are single and as we age, the size of this target grows and our risks go up exponentially.
Could You Use A Gun? 
“USA TODAY Snapshots” reports that in 2011, 23% of all gun owners are women. Thats up from 13% in 2009!

For me personally, owning a gun was something I NEVER thought about; it didn’t even cross my mind for most of my life as a wife and mother. In fact, I was the mother that would not even allow her children to play with toy guns!

But, as so many of ours do, my life changed. Divorced with grown children, I suddenly began to realize my vulnerability and my inability to protect myself were the unthinkable to happen. My single lifestyle meant that I was going everywhere alone… to the store… to work…I was alone in my home every night…I drove 200 miles to visit my children. What would I do if my car broke down in a remote area? What would I do if…? So I began thinking seriously about my safety, and wondered about the possibility of acquiring a gun. Would I be able to use it? Could I shoot someone if I had to?

One day a friend took me to a shooting range so I could get the experience of holding and firing a gun. At first it was intimidating, but after the experience, I felt an exhilarating sense of confidence and empowerment. I knew that I was indeed capable of using a gun. From that day forward I never considered myself to be helpless again.

The statistics are overwhelming and the disturbing stories we see in the news are bound to make us stop, think and worry. My guess is that violent crime has either touched your life personally, or the life of women you know. Although I hate to dwell on such unpleasant realities, it is important to realize just how much violent crime is unleashed on women every day and why it is so very important that we take the necessary steps to protect ourselves.

  • Over 22 million women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime.(National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)
  • Every 90 seconds, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.(Calculation based on 2012 National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice)
  • There were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. Women were more likely than men to be victims; the rate for rape/sexual assault for persons age 12 or older in 2007 was 1.8 per 1,000 for females and 0.1 per 1,000 for males. National Crime Victimization Survey: Criminal Victimization, 2007. 2008. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Available at
  • The United States Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 3.4 million persons said they were victims of stalking during a 12-month period in 2005 and 2006. Women experience 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 and older, while men experience approximately seven stalking victimizations per 1,000 males age 18 and older. Baum, Katrina, Catalano, Shannan, Rand, Michael and Rose, Kristina. 2009. Stalking Victimization in the United States. U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. Available at
  • In 2003, among all female murder victims in the U.S., 30% were slain by their husbands or boyfriends. Source: Uniform Crime Reports of the U.S. 1996, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2003 (January – June). That means the remaining 70% were slain by strangers.
  • “If a woman can protect herself, it’s the first line of defense. She is 30 to 40 percent more likely to be attacked than a man,” says a police firearms instructor a Philadelphia police officer for 30 years.

Lifetime rate of rape/attempted rape for women by race: 1

  • All women: 17.6%
  • White women: 17.7%
  • Black women: 18.8%
  • Asian Pacific Islander women: 6.8%
  • American Indian/Alaskan women: 34.1%
  • Mixed race women: 24.4%

Home Defense

Because of the confusing nature of the different state laws and crimes, verifiable statistics are hard to come by for home invasions in the United States. Some resources placed the statistics as high as 1 in 5 homes in the U.S. that will be broken into or experience some sort of home invasion. The majority of states do not categorize “home invasions” as a unique crime, but instead specify the actual crime committed once the criminals are inside the residence, such as homicide, assault, rape kidnapping, or robbery. Even with hard to find numbers I don’t believe any of us could or should assume that our home or apartment is not a candidate for a home invasion.

There were 9,321,000 reported property crimes which include burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft as reported in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Crimes and Crime Rates by Type and Geographic Community: 2009 Report (Table 307) 2

OK, so I think we have covered some concerning statistics. Links are provided below for your further research.

Do you need a gun? Once again, only you can answer that question. The fact that you are considering this very important option shows your desire to empower yourself with knowledge, and with that, you become a Well Armed Woman – with or without a gun.


Read the next section in Step 1 : Could You Use It?


The following are a selection of other web sites at which to find and verify violence against women statistics:


1 National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence against Women Survey. 1998.

2 Crimes and Crime Rates by Type of Offense